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Palm Inc.

The Price:
  • $40
The Pros:
  • Slimmer and sleeker than the slim leather case
  • Folds around 360 degrees
  • Tight-fitting rail to minimize slip-out
  • Solid construction
  • Rubberized interior

The Cons:
  • No SD/MMC card slots
  • Bumpy learning curve for opening and closing
  • Slippery
  • No reset pin in stylus

PalmInfoCenter.com Ratings*:
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Overall:

*Maximum Rating is FIVE (5) InfoPalms



Palm m500 Series Hardcase Review
By Kezza
2/4/2002


Palm m500 Hardcase Front Overview
The Palm m500 Series aluminum hard case is a lightweight anodized aluminum case designed for the m500 series which includes a new stylus designed specifically to be easily removed from the case.

Anyway, the specific dimensions of the case are:

  • Closed: 4.8 by 3.5 by .75 inches
  • Opened, lying flat: 7.2 inches wide, same height as before (duh).
  • Lid folded around back: 3 inches wide, 0.8 inches thick (no Palm), 1.0 inch thick (with Palm).
  • Weight: I have no clue, though everything feels a tad bit heavier with the Palm inside (as opposed to the Palm on its own).
I've been a longtime soft-case user, and this is my first hardcase. I should point out that I never wanted a hardcase before because none of them opened book-style and folded all the way around as this one does. Because I either like to have my Palm lying flat on my desk or have the case folded around while I hold it, I jumped at the chance to get this case.

I was previously unhappy with the "slim" case that I bought for my m505 (I'm referring to the second series of the case, with the SD slots behind the Palm and little bumpers on the front to keep the buttons from being depressed when closed) because said bumpers would hit either my Date Book or Note Pad buttons, depending on the situation. I got a little sick of opening my Palm case and finding it already turned on.

Unwrapping
The case comes in a plastic package with a sheet of instructions in several languages glued to the backside of the case. This glue was quite nearly a disaster and took some time to rub off the case. That's one of the few gripes I have. Palm didn't use that easy-to-remove rubber glue. No, they used some kind of epoxy that still left some residue on my case.

Looks
This case has a sleek, aluminum finish, which I find a tad bit slippery in my hands. I wouldn't want to try and walk with the case in my bare hands if they were either really dry or really moist. A normal level of hand-moisture seems to provide a comfortable grip.

The color is a titanium-hued silver, lighter than the buttons on my m505, but it complements them nicely. On the front is a small Palm Inc. logo encased in a bubble-domed piece of clear rubber. It looked like glass or plastic until I dug in with my fingernail and felt it yield. This kind of abuse doesn't leave a mark on it, though I'm concerned about what my car keys may do while this case is in my purse. But, since it's so tiny, I'm not too worried.

I should take this time to mention that the case itself is made of molded, anodized aluminum. This is highly scratch resistant, and the slightly textured finish hides smudges and fingerprints quite well. And because each half of the case is molded out of a single piece of aluminum there are no sharp edges or badly met corners.

Inside, the case has a nice blue-gray textured plastic lining, with a slot for business cards facing the screen and an understated Palm Inc. logo on the back half. It's molded smoothly and hugs the Palm in a friendly manner, but not too tight. More about that later. I'm quite pleased with the overall look and feel of this case.

Palm m500 Hardcase Open w/ Stylus Stylus
This case comes with a customized stylus designed to be easily removed whether the case is open or closed. It is made of polished metal, and weighs roughly the same as the stock stylus that comes with the m500 series. The tip is a solid piece of black plastic, and the end is an oversized hook made of translucent blue-gray plastic. The hook has several ridges to provide friction when pushing the stylus out of the silo, which gives a nice feel when you press your thumb against it to push the stylus out. The metal barrel is sleek and professional, with a good set of ridges to prevent finger-slippage.

Here's a big fat thumbs down, though: there's no reset pin in the stylus. However, I've heard that the LandWare Floating*Point stylus tip makes a decent reset pin, and that the hook of this stylus can be screwed onto the end of the Landware stylus and successfully integrated into the Palm and case. I'm thinking of maybe trying the same thing with the Chameleon stylus because the reset pin is located under the tip of the stylus, not at the top. Those of us who have gobs of 3rd party software are good friends with our respective reset pins, so this is kind of a bummer. Other PIC regulars have suggested keeping a paper clip in the card slot.

Usability
First things first here: opening and closing the case was a bit of a trial for me the first dozen or so times I did so, despite the graphic depictions on the sheet of paper glued to my case. Opening is easier than closing once you get used to it. I still find lining up the two halves of the case and clicking it closed a little tough, but maybe that's because I managed to cram four business cards in the slot provided.

Here's the general breakdown of opening and closing: to open the case, you push inwards and down (simultaneously) at the little arrow painted on the lower half of the case. This pops the top half up and out over the edge a bit, then you can open it. To close, you simply repeat the opening process in reverse. First place the top half over the Palm, with it pulled slightly over the bottom half, roughly a millimeter or two. Press down and inwards simultaneously on the top half and it will click closed.

Palm m500 Hardcase Laying Flat I should note that this process is significantly simpler when there's actually a handheld in the case. Without one, both halves slide around incessantly, with the Palm tucked away inside the two halves move in a much more subtle manner.

Both the stylus and the rail attaching the handheld have a nice, tight deathgrip on the Palm. Well, I guess the Palm has the deathgrip, but you get my meaning. I like this, since over time my leather slim case rail has loosened up a bit, and the Palm has fallen out of it 3 times now. Likewise, my rotation of extra Palm styli have all become loose in the slot, and occasionally fly out when I pull my Palm out of my pocket or purse. It makes for some good-looking acrobatics, but it's a pain to go looking for the stylus once it lands. I'm not worried about either of these things happening for some time (if ever) with this case.

Likewise, when the case is closed, it's closed quite well. I have no fears of this opening unexpectedly while in my purse or pocket. On the other hand, I've dropped the empty case on the floor twice and it opened both times, because it landed on its edge. I don't plan on trying this with my Palm inside, but this should be read as a warning that this case may not protect your Palm so well in the event of a fall.

With that said, I should also add that I've dropped my m505 on my hardwood floors 3 times (thanks to the aforementioned slippery rail in my leather case) from roughly a height of 3 feet with no problem.

Back to the rail. It doesn't fold around more than 90 degrees. This means that while I could fold my leather case in half and off to the side to put my Palm in the cradle, it's not so easy with this case. Currently I have my cradle set at the edge of my desk, and the case can hang off the edge while the handheld charges and syncs.

The included stylus has a hard black plastic tip and writes quite smoothly on the screen. Since I use screen protectors, I can't really give a scratch-factor for it, but I'm guessing it's pretty low.

I had heard complaints about the rubberized plastic lining of the case (especially where the card slot is) being poorly manufactured, with excess glue and badly aligned edges. Mine has no signs of this. The card slot is snug and stylish, and as I mentioned before I've crammed four business cards in there comfortably and I can still close the case. If you're thinking about sticking an SD card or two in there, it may work. I put an SD card and an MMC card on either side of the main slot, under the plastic, over my business cards. They fit, and with a little extra pressure I could close the case, but thoughts of scratched screens and "oilslicks" from the extra localized pressure convinced me to take them out.

Palm m500 Hardcase Close-up of Hinge Speaking of snug and flexible, I'd like to take this time to talk about the hinge. The case is double-hinged, meaning that each half of the cover is hinged on a single piece of aluminum, just over a half inch wide. So, the front half can flap around freely, as can the back half. This is how Palm got this case to fold around 360 degrees. This is what I initially found annoying during the closing of the case, getting the hinge perpendicular to both halves of the case and getting everything to line up correctly. I eventually got the hang of it, so it's no longer a problem for me.

Slight tangent rooted in opening and closing the case: I've noticed something strange Palm Inc. did with the m500 series: clicking. It seems like everything makes a horrible click noise when being engaged or disengaged or opened or closed that brings to mind visions of cracked screens, smashed circuitry, and overall just plain dead palms. When I click this case closed or click it open, I wince a little. Much the way I winced when pulling my m505 off of the cradle the first few (dozen) times.

Conclusion
Overall I'd give this case a thumbs up. Speaking as a soft-case user, I'd recommend this case highly to anybody else who's feared joining the ranks of the hardcased due to inflexible hinges and horror stories of sub-par lining and insufficient latches. Speaking as a Palm user, I'd recommend this case highly to anyone, with only a few small reservations: no slot for SD cards, no reset pin, slightly inconvenient to open and close.

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Glue is fine

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 2:38:15 PM #
I have the M50x series hard case pictured here, and the glue on the back came of like any of that rubber cement type of glue, perfectly cleanly. Perhaps you got a different batch or something, but mine was just what you'd expect.

Opening and closing is tricky if you press both sides of the edge of the case. Once you get it of course it is easier, but good point there. The inside lining is excellent. I actually got mine and admired and thought, these things probably take reasonable development time to work out.

Like the case.

RE: Glue is fine
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 5:28:22 PM #
Same here, didn't have any problems with glue when I got mine in December. Get plenty of comments on the case as well, everyone remarks on how well made it is, and I quite like how my 505 fits snugly inside.

I tried the slim leather case, same problem as reviewer, it slipped out after some use, and I found that it didn't protect the screen well, with the SD cards rubbing against the screen. I shifted to the zip up case and while it was better, as far as screen protection, I still found the unit would get turned on by any pressure on the case.

I use my 505 for many things, a great deal of storage of books (ebooks) and manuals and other information. Used to use my old Vx for storing entire course manuals when I was teaching, which was much easier than carrying three briefcases to manage all the binders I used to have to lug around. And of course, being in the financial world, I rely heavily on AvantGo and web clipping apps to keep up to date on the markets and news. Now, if they would only come out with a decent case for the 505 modem :)

Overall, I'm extremely happy with this hard case, compared to the one that was around for the Vx which I eventually gave up on as fairly useless.

RE: Glue is fine
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 5:33:53 PM #
Whoops, forgot one thing... if I had a wish for the next generation hard case, it would be some storage for SD cards... I ended up purchasing two Microtech MediaVault cases to carry my spare SD cards, which give the same level of protection for them as this case does for my 505 :)

RE: Glue NOT fine
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 8:38:15 PM #
Lucky guys you two. I didn't have the same luck. Mine was more like the author. It was not rubber cement but rather a hard glue that left half the info sheet on the device. A bit of rubbing... and then more over the next several days till it finally all came off. Must be different runs off the line.

opening and closing and reset pin

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 2:52:08 PM #
I am still having problems closing this case. I ended up going back to my Vaja case for a while and see if I miss the hard case.

As for the reset pin, I drilled a 1/64 hole in the end piece and superglued a cut piece of paper clip in the hole. Works nicely.

Reset pin and customer service

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 2:55:20 PM #
When I first got the case, I thought it might have had a reset pin. I called Palm and they said they would send me a new one if I sent them mine.

No thanks...

Oops...

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 3:00:32 PM #
IMHO... I know itís a hard case, but shouldn't they have made it so it doesn't slip out of you hands so easily? I wonder just how many times you can toss this thing before you do some damage to the Palm.



RE: Oops...
Sweetlu @ 2/4/2002 3:14:26 PM #
....but handling the hardcase while it is open feels very secure and confortable.

Keeza nice review, but I disagree with the point that the case is highly scratch resistant. I would strongly advise users not store their case along side with keys or loose change. I did this and the case is all scratched up to the point that I have a small blemish in the front cover. It seems that the silver coating rubbed off. It's smaller than 1mm, but it could be anoying at times.

Would've like to see if the SD/MMC card holder from Riley Dog fits into the business card slot.

RE: Oops...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 4:24:13 PM #
>> "IMHO... I know itís a hard case, but shouldn't they have made it so it doesn't slip out of you hands so easily?"

Apologies... I miss-read the statement in the original article.

Can anyone tell us just how slippery it is when closed?


RE: Oops...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 4:38:01 PM #
I have had this case for about a week now. It is quite good, and yes, it is a bit slippery when closed, but I do not think, that it may slip out from your hands. And definitely, it can protect your Palm - mine has fallen down from the about 4 feet while in the case, (and the case was open) and nothing wrong had happened. (I know I am lucky:-)

RE: Oops...
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/6/2002 9:53:09 AM #
Slippery? Geez are you Earnest Byner?
I don't find the case slippery at all. I supsect its too much foreign materials on the hands and not actually holding onto the thing.

I really like this case but I think it was a mistake to not have a place to accomodate expansion cards (I mean isn't that what the m50x series is all about?) I'm reluctant to put them in the slot that is made to hold the four business cards because it looks like they might rub onto the screen.

Also, I know it'd be tuff, but its a pain to remove the PDA from the case everytime in needs put in its cradle.

BrownsFan

Ways to make reset pin

NoBrain123 @ 2/4/2002 3:28:35 PM #
Can someone please give me a step-by-step process to put a reset pin on the stylus? Thanks.

RE: Ways to make reset pin
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/7/2002 2:38:48 PM #
stick a toothpick in the little area to the left of the M50x. There's a small little crevice between the PDA and the hinge of the case.

Or, to make a reset pin: Clip about 3/8" of an inch off of a paper clip. Take the rest of the paper clip and open it up. Holding it with pliers, heat up the one end of the paper clip with a lighter, or better yet a propane torch. Insert the heated end carefully into the removable top of the stylus. Be very careful to go in the middle and go straight. Then superglue the 3/8" piece into the stylus top.

Let me know if it works then I'll try it.

Stylus

scat_sweeney @ 2/4/2002 3:45:12 PM #
I have a cross stylus/pen & I think it is the greatest. The only thing preventing me from purchasing this case is the inability to use other styli. I have an Innopocket and it rocks. Although I like the color and style.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
* Commit random acts of coolness. *
~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~
RE: Stylus
Moosecat @ 2/4/2002 5:00:20 PM #
Is is true that you can't use other styli at all? It's not clear to me whether the stylus that comes with it is just better, because it has a big old hook on it for removal when the case is closed, or if it is the only stylus you can use.

If I can't use my floating point, that's a dealbreaker.

RE: Stylus
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 6:10:56 PM #
You can use any standard-size stylus with this case, you just won't be able to pull it out as easily without the hook.
People in the forums have said they're using their floating point styli with the hook screwed onto the end quite successfully.
i'm thinking of doing the same, myself. though i am rather fond of the stylus it comes with. it's just that i can't use it to reset!

- kezza (hey Ryan: I still can't post non-anonymously! I'll put something about it in the forums)

RE: Stylus
dethblud @ 2/4/2002 8:46:24 PM #
Even though I have the floating point and am not concerned with the stylus I am quite happy with my Innopocket case. It bugs be that the Palm case is larger enough to require a special stylus. Now if only Innopocket would make a case without holes in it...

Wear test

sandbuck @ 2/4/2002 4:35:32 PM #
Michelle,

Can you check in after a couple of weeks and update us on the lining?

RE: Wear test
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 12:05:20 AM #
Actually, my name's not Michelle, it's Kerry. ;)
anyway, Ed acquired the pics from someone else because I lack a digital camera.
but, yeah, i'm keeping my eye on that lining, especially since someone else here has had the same trouble.
not sure if it has something to do with first batches versus second -- I got mine in what i think was the second wave of production.
hopefully the lining was something that was worked out before the current production, so it won't plague anyone else.

On another note, since I wrote this review I've gotten two scratches on the case. They're small and don't bother me, but this may be something that would put people off the case. I say follow Sweetlu's advice and keep it out of the way of keys and other sharp metal objects.

- Kezza

Great review

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 4:37:24 PM #
I don't have a m500 but still thought this was a great article. Can't wait to see "second-time reviewer" in Ed's introduction. :)

Use with PPK?

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 6:14:54 PM #
Does anyone know if you can use the palm keyboard without taking the hard case off? Thanks in advance.

RE: Use with PPK?
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 10:08:18 PM #
No, you cannot use the keyboard with the hard case on. The back of the case will only swivel out 90 degrees from the back of the m50X. I even tried to put the keyboard at the back edge of a table to see if I could have the case hang over the back of the table. The case just does not give enough room for the palm to be connected to the keyboard. Other than that, it's a great case and I really like it. You will have to remove the m50X from the case in order to use the keyboard. My only worry with that is that the rail connecting the palm to the case will eventually get loose with the repeated removing and installing of the case.

HotSync, CardSlot usage and IRPort window using the case

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 6:29:09 PM #
I have not read anything about things like, inserting or taking out cards from the slot, doing a hotsync using the cradle with out taking the palm out of the case and finally how is the window for the IRPort when palm is in the case but the door is fully opened.

Can current users of the case please post their opinions.

Also, are you able to fit the case inside the palm's leather folder with belt clip.

thanks -mb

RE: HotSync, CardSlot usage and IRPort window using the case
Kezza @ 2/4/2002 7:13:55 PM #
Sorry I didn't mention cards and IR in the review, but I did describe my setup for using the cradle with the palm still in the case.

As for IR, I've had no troubles. In fact, I've beamed a lot of stuff to my coworkers (two of them just got their first palms) over the last couple weeks with no hindrance in signal from the case.

And, as for cards, the easiest way to put in/take out cards is to swing the palm out of the case 90 degrees (as far as the rail moves) to get to the card slot. it's the same way I did it with my slim case, and it workes fine for me.

- Kezza

RE: HotSync, CardSlot usage and IRPort window using the case
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 9:22:19 PM #
Thanks a lot Kezza. I might have missed out on that stuff. Good review.

thanks -mb

Palm m505 Hardshell Case

Soul @ 2/4/2002 6:38:37 PM #
I have found that the glue holding the metal to the plastic can come undone. I am on my second one.

RE: Palm m505 Hardshell Case
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/26/2002 7:44:56 PM #
Is your second one ok?
Cause I'm having same problem.

RE: Palm m505 Hardshell Case
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/23/2002 11:28:55 PM #
same problem with my case. almost the first day i got it, the aluminium started to lift off the inner plastic skeleton. i think the quality of the case sux (especially for the price paid)

Simplicity

SuccessWizard @ 2/4/2002 6:44:54 PM #
The Palm m500 Series Hardcase is designed to be a simple protective case -- not a portable office.

The stylus that's included serves as an emergency stylus in my opinion, not your everyday stylus. The ttools Premier complements the case well, but will not dock while the Palm is in the case.

The business card slot can't hold a serious number of cards for a typical business use -- Kezza crammed four whole cards in there! Try getting through a Chamber of Commerce mixer with just four cards. I'd say the slot is for maybe one of your cards and the Graffiti reference card.

As for SD slots, I wish it had some slots molded in the rear section -- they would be hidden under the Palm. I thought of cutting two of my own into the plastic -- and I haven't ruled that out yet. I'm trying the Riley Dog SD card holders first.

I bought the Hardcase for the simple reason of keeping my Palm m505 from getting the buttons pressed my mistake while in my pocket and briefcase. It does that really well -- I give it a ten for that!

Mike Lohsl
Palm & ACT! Advisor

www.successwizard.com

RE: Simplicity
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 7:08:07 PM #
The absolute best case is Kensington's PDA Protector. It's rubberized aluminum, slim, flips open, so you can open it one handed. It's the best designed, like most of Kensington;s products.

RE: Simplicity
Sweetlu @ 2/4/2002 9:09:10 PM #
Mike,

When you get the Riley Dog SD card holders let us know if it fits. I noticed that the business cards curl while they are in the slot.

RE: Simplicity
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 10:40:02 AM #
Isn't the magnetic closure on the Kensignton case bad for near-by disks, zip, credit card, and SD or MM cards?

Were it not for that issue, that's the one I'd get. I have the Innocase (whatever it's called). I do like it but it is too slippery. And I agree with another post that there is no reason for the hole for the memory cards.

RE: Simplicity
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 11:07:34 AM #
My SD holder from Riley Dog arrived in the mail yesterday, conveniently enough. I had purchased my m500 hard case this past weekend and was eager to see if the two were compatible. Unfortunately they are _not_. Frustrated, I forced the RD holder in and ended up tearing the rubber molding of the hardcase.

For the record, the Riley Dog is a bit thicker than I imagined and certainly wider than I had hoped for-they should have been able to cram three or four SD cards in there! So for now I just keep the Riley Dog in my wallet and the hardcase in my pocket, waiting for the next hardware revision. Alas...



RE: Simplicity
GKreamer @ 2/7/2002 11:21:26 AM #
I would not agree that Kensington's case is the best... I bought one and it is OK- the m505 slips in snugly, but then can move up and down a small bit while in the case AND while you are trying to use it. The Palm will not fall out accidentally and it is nice that it flips...

m50x vs V hard case

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 9:09:54 PM #
Just my own comments... I was disappointed that the stylus included with the m50x does not come with a reset pin in the stylus. This is a MAJOR disadvantage that causes me not to use the stylus.

As for the actual case, I find it VERY difficult to place business cards in the holder on the m50x, on the V case this was quite easy.

On the V case I was able to place the graffitti stickers on the inside cover of the case, I am not able to do so on this case.

The V case seemed more snug to the Palm while the m50x case seems to add a little more bulk (disappointing since the goal of the m50x series is it's sleek small design)

I do like the ability to fold the case behind itself that the m50x offers (the V didn't).

Overall I like the design of the V case much better than the 50x. I'm upset Palm took a great product the Palm V and the Palm V hardcase and put out the Palm m50x along with it's hardcase. The Palm Vx is a NICE unit and unfortunately we have no place to turn but the m50x/m515 with a compromise on the hardcase.

there is also no cutout for the infared beam ability on the m50x case, the V case has this nice feature.
I agree with your post and I liked the V hard case as well. For the businesss cards and graffitti stickers , the sleakness, the only good item about the m50x case is the 360 opening.

RE: m50x vs V hard case
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 9:18:59 PM #
Maybe on OS 5 u wont need to reset your palm? hmmmm.

RE: m50x vs V hard case
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 11:35:40 PM #
Good luck on not having to reset any PDA.

RE: m50x vs V hard case
I.M. Anonymous @ 2/5/2002 10:23:04 AM #
Your stylus that came with the 50x does NOT have a reset pin?

That is strange. I am on my third 505 (exchanged the first one at the store, returned the second one to palm when it died). All three had reset pins in the stylus heads.

Case Colors

I.M. Anonymous @ 2/4/2002 9:34:37 PM #
Any chance of the case coming in a blue/red color to complement on the limited edition Palm m505's?

Palm Hardcase for m505

PalmNut @ 2/4/2002 11:34:07 PM #
This is great but Zero Halliburton is also coming out with one in March. Check it our on their site www.zerohalliburton.com

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